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Symptoms of a Cyst on the Liver

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Symptoms of a Cyst on the Liver
Doctor examining patient's shoulder. Photo Credit KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images


A cyst on the liver affects approximately 5 percent of the population, of which nearly 95 percent do not develop symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A liver cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops along the liver, the largest organ in the human body. Whether a person develops symptoms of a liver cyst typically depends upon the size of the cyst; large liver cysts can cause symptoms, while smaller liver cysts generally don't. People who develop symptoms of a cyst on the liver should consult a physician for further evaluation and care.

Abdominal Pain

Symptomatic people can develop mild to severe abdominal pain due to a liver cyst, reports Dr. Michael Picco with the Mayo Clinic. Sensations of pain typically localize to the upper right portion of the abdomen, which corresponds to the location of the liver inside the human body. If the liver cyst continues to increase in size, sensations of abdominal pain can also progressively increase. People who experience sudden or severe abdominal pain should contact a doctor as this symptom can be a sign of appendicitis or a ruptured cyst.

Bloating or Fullness

Swelling of the abdomen caused by a liver cyst can lead to sensations of abdominal fullness or bloating in people with this condition, explains the Patient UK website. Affected people can notice that the abdominal region appears abnormally distended, enlarged or rounded, and may be tender to the touch. Additionally, sensations of fullness can contribute to a temporary decrease in appetite in certain patients.

Shoulder Pain

If a liver cyst continues to swell it can rupture and begin to bleed. A liver cyst that bleeds into the abdominal cavity can cause severe shoulder and abdominal pain in affected people, the Cleveland Clinic reports. Bleeding typically subsides without additional medical intervention and sensations of pain progressively diminish a few days after a liver cyst rupture. Severe abdominal and shoulder pain can also be signs of appendicitis or a ruptured ovarian cyst, and affected people should seek prompt medical care to ensure receipt of appropriate treatment.

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